Tom Dempsey recommends the following camera gear for on-the-go photographers:
- PART A: SMARTPHONES are antiquating larger cameras by revolutionizing photo sharing and improving their capture of telephoto and dim light — as in the latest Apple iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models with 3x and 5x optical tele (price at Amazon). The Google Pixel Pro 8 also sports a top 5x optical tele. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra beats all with a good 10x optical tele camera. Upgrade your phone first before considering a larger camera below.
- PART B: the top POCKETABLE CAMERA captures sharper images using a superior 8x optical zoom and larger 1-inch Type sensor for better performance in dim light: Sony RX100 VII or cheaper RX100 VI (prices at Amazon) — reviewed in Tom’s article, “Sony RX100M6.” Save $ on a Panasonic ZS100 (Amazon) or versatile smaller-sensor ZS80 with electronic viewfinder. Olympus Tough TG-7 waterproof camera is for good water sports.
- PART C: MIDSIZE MIRRORLESS CAMERAS: the 37-ounce Sony RX10 IV (Amazon) with versatile 25x zoom lens outshines larger-sensor systems anywhere near its weight. Read Tom’s RX10M4 review. Or much cheaper, a crisp 16x-zoom Panasonic FZ1000 version II weighing just 29 ounces beats the bulk & cost of DSLR systems.
- PART D: DSLR-STYLE CAMERAS are for traditionalists wanting an optical viewfinder — a bulky legacy design. Solve the awkwardness of swapping lenses with an all-in-one solution: a good-value 32-ounce DSLR system is Nikon D3500 (Amazon) mounted with 19x zoom Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC lens, which captures blurrier edges than Sony RX10 IV but saves $600. Read more in “BEST TELEPHOTO ZOOM LENS 300mm+.”
- PART E: FULL-FRAME SENSOR CAMERAS specialize in sharper indoor or night images at high ISO 6400+ sensitivity — but are costlier and require bulkier lenses. The best compact option is Sony a7CR (2023, 18 oz body, 60 MP BSI CMOS). Or save $ on its 33-MP sibling Sony a7C II. Mount with Sony FE (full frame) E-mount lenses (Amazon).
MORE DETAILS: TOP TRAVEL CAMERAS, Parts A-E
PART A. Top SMARTPHONE CAMERAS
compensate for tiny cameras with ease-of-use, instant photo sharing, good close focus, and vast computational power for superior AUTO HDR. Get the latest most-advanced Pro or Ultra models for superior speed, telephoto, and dim-light (night mode) performance. Top brands include:
- Apple iPhone (unlocked, at Amazon) versions 15, 14, 13, 12. Get the latest Pro or Pro Max version, for a good 3x or 5x power optical telephoto
- Samsung Galaxy (unlocked): S23 Ultra and S22 Ultra beat those with sharp 10x power optical telephoto
- Google Pixel Pro 8 has a good 5x optical tele
Photographers using Cloud storage can get away with 128 GB internal storage on the phone. For business use, Tom prefers 256 or 512 GB.
An “unlocked” phone lets you pick a lower-priced wireless service provider and/or install a cheap foreign SIM in each country visited (as I did in Japan and UK). To save money on your USA wireless carrier, consider Consumer Cellular (external link), which accesses AT&T’s complete USA-only network most cheaply while providing top customer support. Get Consumer Cellular’s “all-in-one SIM” from Target stores or via mail, then insert into an unlocked GSM phone and activate with their help. For international roaming capability when away from Wi-fi, I now use Consumer Cellular’s T-Mobile service. With my wife on Consumer Cellular’s AT&T and me on their T-Mobile service, together we broaden our USA coverage.
Off by default, be sure to turn ON your phone’s “Wi-Fi Calling” Setting, which costs nothing extra. Wi-Fi Calls in the USA will be clearer, if cell reception is poor where Wi-Fi is strong. When you are outside of USA, Wi-Fi Calls eliminate roaming charges when calling US phone numbers. While you are roaming, calls made to non-USA numbers are charged per-minute rates by both the foreign and home mobile network operators. When abroad, only use Wi-Fi service to access internet data; turn OFF “Data Roaming” to avoid unexpectedly large bills.
PART B. World’s best POCKETABLE TRAVEL CAMERA
- Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII (RX100M7) (2019, 11 oz, 24–200mm f/2.8-4.5) or previous RX100 VI (RX100M6) (2018). Read Tom’s RX10M6 review.
- Accessories: Avoid dropping its slippery body by adding Sony AG-R2 attachment grip. Fit into Tamrac Digital 1 Photo Bag with extra Wasabi Power NPBX1 batteries. Avoid LCD scratches with QIBOX Premium GLASS Protector.
The sweet spot for a sharp, portable zoom is now found in cameras like this which use Sony’s 1-inch-Type sensor — as explained in my “Sensors” article.
Other recommended pocketable cameras
- Panasonic Lumix DSC-ZS100 (2016, 11 oz, 25-250mm equivalent lens f/2.8-5.9). Read Tom’s ZS100 review.
- Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS200 (2018, 12 oz, 24-360mm equivalent lens f/3.3-6.4) outguns all pocket-size 1″-sensor rivals with a versatile 15x zoom, but sibling ZS100 is sharper and brighter through 10x.
- Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 versions IV, III, II, or I: within its limited 3x zoom is sharper and brighter than that sub-range of Panasonic’s 10x-zoom ZS100. Save money with used or earlier III, II or I versions — read Tom’s Sony RX100 III review.
- Best value pocketable superzoom: Panasonic ZS80 (2019, 11.5 oz, 24–720mm equiv 30x zoom, 20mp, Electronic ViewFinder/EVF).
- Cheaper, tiniest 10x zoom: Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 IS (2016, 5 oz, 24-240mm equivalent, 1/2.3″ sensor, but no viewfinder).
Weather resistant pocketable cameras
- The waterproof, shockproof, dust-resistant Olympus Tough TG-7 waterproof camera (2023, 9 oz, 25-100mm, f/2.0-4.9 lens) can potentially beat contemporary smartphone image quality if you shoot and edit raw format, as I did when rafting the Grand Canyon using the earlier TG-4.
- For hiking in the rain, a waterproof smartphone is a good choice (plus adds topographic tracking via Gaia GPS, AllTrails, or other apps). My Samsung Galaxy Note9 worked great in New Zealand rainforests.
- Beware that seawater can corrode contacts even on waterproof phones, so a case is advised. While a cheap CaliCase Universal Waterproof Case can take smartphones snorkeling under seawater, beware that 2 out of 4 copies that I received in 2018 noticeably softened camera resolution due to a milky stain on the already-blurry plastic window.
TIP: As a workaround for sluggish autofocus (AF) in cheaper compact cameras: prefocus (lock) on a contrasty edge of the subject by half pressing and holding the shutter button, then the subsequent full press will be instant, ≤ 0.15 second. But half-press autofocus lock doesn’t work in continuous focus or action modes. Don’t let an inferior camera frustrate your capture of action, people, pets, or sports. For surer action shots, upgrade to a newer model with hybrid AF such as pocket-size Panasonic ZS100, Sony RX100, or midsize RX10M4 or Panasonic FZ1000 II, or an interchangeable-lens camera.
PART C. MIDSIZE MIRRORLESS TRAVEL CAMERAS
- Since 2018, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV packs the ultimate all-in-one travel tool into 37 ounces — read Tom’s RX10M4 review. Its dust-sealed, bright f/2.4-4 lens with remarkable 25x zoom is sharp across the frame from 24-600mm equivalent, well into birding territory (read Tom’s Telephoto article). With the latest 1”-Type sensor, it captures great depth-of-field details, everywhere from close flower shots to distant bird feathers.
- Accessories: Preserve your investment with B+W 72mm XS-Pro Clear MRC-Nano 007M Filter for the lens and Sony PCK-LM15 protective LCD cover. Extend shooting time with Wasabi Power NP-FW50 (1300mAh) batteries for Sony and SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB UHS-I/U3 SDXC Flash Memory Card (Amazon). Carry the RX10M4 in the perfectly-fitting Lowepro Photo Active TLZ 45 AW toploader bag, using included removable shoulder strap or an Ortlieb chest harness on the go. Or Spider Holster – Spider X Backpacker Kit carries any midsize camera from any belt or backpack strap.
Smaller, cheaper midsize cameras with 1″-Type sensor
- Best midsize camera for the money: Panasonic FZ1000 version II (2019, 28.5 oz with fast-focusing 16x zoom lens 25-400mm equivalent, bright f/2.8-4 aperture, 20mp, 1″-Type BSI sensor) rivals the zoom quality of APS-C-sensor and DSLR systems of this weight. (The earlier FZ1000 version I has a noisier sensor and poorer LCD screen & EVF.)
- Travelers may prefer FZ1000 II over the older, heavier Panasonic FZ2500 (2016, 33 oz, 20x zoom 24-480mm f/2.8–4.5, 20mp, called FZ2000 in some markets). In comparison to Sony RX10 III, the Panasonic FZ2500 has a fully articulated LCD with touchscreen, increases viewfinder magnification (EVF 0.74x versus 0.7x), has better menus, and improves video specs (ND filter, Cine/UHD 4K). But FZ2500’s lens collects a half stop less light, lowering image quality; its telephoto doesn’t reach long enough for birders; and its CIPA battery life of 350 shots is shorter than RX10III’s 420 shots.
Larger APS-C sensor, midsize camera for dim light, indoor action, events
- Sony Alpha A6400 mirrorless camera with 16-50mm lens (Amazon) (2019, 14 oz + 4 oz 24-75mm equiv zoom, 24MP APS-C) has very Fast Hybrid Autofocus. Read Tom’s A6300 review. Accessory: Sony LCD Screen Protect PCKLM17 Semi-Hard Sheet fits A6000, A6300, A6500.
Tiny 1/2.3″-Type sensor extends zoom range for midsize cameras
Tiny, noisy 1/2.3″-Type sensors are leveraged well by smartphones’ superior processing power, but therein mostly limited to wider angles of view. When attached to larger-diameter lenses to collect more light, these little sensors usefully extend zoom range in the following midsize cameras:
- Cheapest: Panasonic Lumix FZ300 (2015, 24.4 oz, 12 mp, bright f/2.8 lens 25-600mm equivalent, 24x zoom range, weather sealed).
- Nikon COOLPIX P950 (2020, 35 oz, 24–2000mm equivalent 83x zoom lens f/2.8–6.5, 1/2.3″ sensor, 16mp). Fully articulated LCD. 290 shots per charge. P950 adds a flash hot shoe and can record RAW files (whereas older P900 only captured JPEGs).
- Compare with bulkier Nikon COOLPIX P1000 (2018, 50 oz, 24–3000mm equivalent 125x zoom lens f/2.8–8.0 on 1/2.3″ sensor, 16mp) for dedicated birders and wildlife specialists. The P950 and P1000 are best intended for zooming above 1000mm equivalent, whereas various rival cameras would better cover 24-1000mm. For example, superior processing of modern smartphones generally beats P950 and P1000 at wide angles (24-50mm equivalent). A 1″-sensor Sony RX10M4 shot at 600mm can be digitally cropped by 2x to outshine the P950 and P1000 up to about 1200mm equivalent.
If your camera was made prior to 2018, do yourself a favor — upgrade for better real resolution, lower noise at higher ISO speeds ( ≥ 800), and/or quicker autofocus. From 2009–2022, top cameras have markedly improved handheld optical image stabilization (branded as Nikon VR, Canon IS, Panasonic OIS, Sigma OS, Tamron VC, Sony OSS), largely freeing us from daytime tripod use. The latest cameras capture more highlight and shadow detail, by using better sensors plus automatic HDR (high dynamic range) imaging and other optimizations for JPEG files. On advanced models, I always edit raw format images to recover several stops of highlight and shadow detail which would be lost with JPEG.
Related camera history: Tom Dempsey’s travel cameras adopted from 1978 until now.
PART D. DSLR-STYLE TRAVEL CAMERAS
feature an optical viewfinder using a legacy mirror box. A good price value is:
- Nikon D3500 (2018, 13 oz body, 24MP APS-C sensor/DX format, CIPA battery life 1550 shots) plus pick lenses below.
- Upgrade: Nikon D5600 (2016, 16.4 oz body, 24mp) adds fully articulated (flip out) LCD touchscreen.
- All-in-one travel lens: Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD MACRO lens (2014, 19 oz, 3 x 3.9″, 24-450mm equivalent) equals Nikon’s kit-lens quality (but Sony RX10 IV and III are sharper, especially at ≥90mm equivalent).
- or Nikon AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm F4.5-5.6E ED VR (2017, 24 oz) takes sharper, faster-focusing shots of birds, wildlife, and sports.
- Read Tom’s article: “BEST TELEPHOTO ZOOM LENS 300mm+” to seriously magnify wildlife, birds, and sports with optical image stabilization.
- Read Tom’s wide angle lenses article.
Recommended close focus, macro enlargement prime lenses for DSLR cameras
- Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 VC USD (Model F017, released in 2016): 5.5-inch working distance; enlarges subjects down to 1.4 inches wide (3.5 cm) (in comparison, Sony RX10M4 at 600mm has 28″ working distance and enlarges down to 2.8 inches wide)
- Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G ED Macro Autofocus lens (15 oz) with fast SWM (Silent Wave Motor) and IF (Internal Focusing), captures true macro 1:1 reproduction ratio.
- Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens for APS-C sensors (12 oz) captures true 1:1 reproduction ratio; for a Canon body.
- Compared to the above 60mm lenses, longer macro lenses such as 100mm and 105mm give you a few more inches of comfortable working distance from the front of the lens (to avoid startling insects) and can have a different bokeh (character of out-of-focus areas), but at the cost of larger size, weight, and expense.
Instead of carrying one of the above prime macro lenses for a DSLR camera, consider adding a pocketable camera or smartphone which can focus very closely at wide angle with deep depth of field, and can serve as a backup for your larger/main camera. A pocketable Panasonic ZS100 captures good close-focus shots optimally sharp at 45mm equivalent (after the Macro/Flower symbol button is pressed).
In fact, I gave up lens-swapping in 2016. Instead, I carry the Swiss-Army-Knife of cameras — the 25x zoom Sony RX10 IV, which captures excellent macro at 400-600mm, sharpest at f/5.6 — read Tom’s RX10M4 review.
Historical DSLR comparison: Nikon version Canon
Nikon D3300 (released in 2014) offers more for your money (at a lighter travel weight) than Canon EOS Rebel cameras of 2014 and earlier. Also, the earlier Nikon D3200 beats Canon Rebel DSLR cameras of 2012. The best mirrorless designs can pack more quality into a smaller box, but DSLR cameras offer more specialty lenses, with a design legacy inherited from the 35mm film era, where an optical viewfinder’s mirror box adds bulk.
PART E. FULL-FRAME-SENSOR TRAVEL CAMERAS
- World’s best full-frame mirrorless camera in a compact body: Sony a7CR (2023, 18.2 oz body, 60 MP BSI CMOS).
- Cheaper: Sony a7C II (2023, 18.1 oz body, 33 MP BSI CMOS).
The Alpha 7 (A7) series requires Sony FE (full frame) E-mount lenses:
- Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS E-mount lens (27.5 oz, SEL24240) has a 10x zoom range, making the Alpha 7 series versatile for travel. Camera + body = 46+ ounces. A reader at dpreview.com using a 42-MP A7R2 mounted with SEL24240 reported clearly superior dim light performance versus Sony RX10M4, but not so significantly better in good light.
- Sony FE 24-70 mm F2.8 GM SEL2470GM lens (2016, 31 oz) is brighter and sharper, but only zooms by 3x. Camera + body = 49+ ounces. Images from SEL2470GM shot at 70mm on a 60-MP Sony a7CR could be cropped by up to three or four times linearly to beat the quality of Sony RX10M4 shot at 300mm equivalent — but in good light, a RX10M4 shot from 350-600mm equivalent likely beats cropping.
Full-frame-sensor cameras excel at night, indoor, high ISO 6400+, and very-large-print photography. But compared to smaller-sensor cameras, full-frame systems require heavier lenses to achieve the zoom range necessary for flexible travel photography. Shooting in bright outdoor light, full-frame camera advantages would only be noticeable when you closely inspect large prints from well-shot images (bigger than about 3 feet diagonally). Full-frame sensors are overkill for Tom’s nature-travel publishing needs.
Sony A7 series history: The A7R (2014, 16.4 oz) captures 36MP. In contrast, A7S (2015, 17 oz) has 12MP optimized with large photosites and more sensitive autofocus great for low-light videographers, but its stills require ISO 12,800+ to beat A7R’s 36MP image quality. Instead of having an optical viewfinder like a DSLR, the A7, A7II, A7R, and A7S have a great electronic viewfinder (EVF) with 2.4 million dots (XGA). The 3-inch tilting LCD has 1.23 million dots (except 921,000 on A7S). New Hybrid AF builds phase-detection autofocus into the sensor, capturing 5 fps with continuous autofocus. With contrast-detection autofocus only, A7S shoots 5 fps and A7R shoots 4 fps. Weatherproof bodies.
A tradeoff exists between absolute image quality, system weight, zoom reach, and other features. The optimal choice depends on your preferences.
What makes an ideal travel camera?
The “best” travel camera is the one you want to carry everywhere. For many people, a smartphone is sufficient. But for me, the best Light Travel cameras (as chosen above) should minimize bulk and weight while maximizing sensor dimensions (read article), zoom range, lens diameter, battery life ( ≥ 350 shots), and ISO “sensitivity” (for lower noise in dim light). A sharp optical zoom lens should change the field of view by a factor of 8x to 25x to rapidly frame diverse subjects, without the bulk or annoyance of swapping lenses. Lenses should autofocus fast (with hybrid AF minimizing shutter lag ≤ 0.3 second), optically stabilize images, and focus closely (for good macro enlargement). Travel cameras should pop up a built-in flash and also flip out (articulate/hinge/swivel) a high-resolution display screen to jump-start your creative macro, movie and candid shooting at arm’s length. OLED displays usually outshine LCD. Sunny-day reflections often obscure display-screen visibility − but to save bulk, most pocket cameras sadly lack a viewfinder. A camera with a brilliant electronic viewfinder (preferably EVF with ≥ 1 million dots) gives superior live feedback on the final digital image than a non-digital optical viewfinder.
RECOMMENDED PHOTO PRINTERS | SCANNERS | MONITOR
The 13-inch-wide Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 Printer with ten pigmented inks is excellent for photographers.
The 8.5-inch-wide Canon PIXMA TR8620 Multi-function Printer is an excellent value for a one-person office, with five ink colors including pigmented black, accepting paper from small media up to Legal 8.5×14-inches. Adding photo blue ink in the following model achieves slightly better color accuracy, but it’s hardly perceptible and costs more for ink usage: Canon PIXMA TS8320 combines a pigment-based black ink with dye-based cyan, magenta, yellow, “photo black” and photo blue inks.
SCANNERS: Pacific Image PowerSlide X: Batch scan 50 film slides, up to 10,000 dpi, excellent dynamic range of 4.2, with critically important Magic Touch infrared dust and scratch removal (ICE). Or Plustek OpticFilm 8200i SE scanner (2014) reincarnates your slides & film digitally, with important infrared/ICE removal of dust & scratches.
MONITOR: ASUS PA328Q 32″ 16:9 4K/UHD IPS Monitor, nicely precalibrated at the factory, has served me well since 2017.
- Buy extra Wasabi Power brand batteries for a variety of camera models (from Blue Nook / Amazon.com).
- Portable battery power bank chargers (Amazon). I use the Mi Premium Power Bank Pro 10000mAh, 18W Fast Charging Slim. Great for travelling away from electrical outlets! It efficiently powers a phone 40% longer than rival Anker PowerCore 10000, says PCMag. It thankfully supports pass-through charging of itself AND your device at the same time. Fits most phones; includes USB-C adapter cable.
- SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB UHS-I/U3 SDXC Flash Memory Card (Amazon) fits weeks of shooting, great for 4K video. Or cheaper: SanDisk 16GB Extreme SDHC Memory Card.
- A clear glass filter protects precious lenses from scratches & catastrophic drops. I speak from experience! Get a clear glass filter, NOT a UV filter, which modern multi-coated lenses have made redundant. Example: high quality B+W 72mm XS-Pro Clear MRC-Nano 007M Filter fits my Sony RX10 III (read article).
- Mount a circular polarizing filter (B+W brand at Amazon) only to remove reflections or haze, or to contrast clouds with polarized sky. Don’t forget to immediately take it off for all other conditions, as it can block 1-1.5 stops of light.
- Tamrac digital camera bag protects your precious device on the road. Lowepro Photo Active TLZ 45 AW toploader bag perfectly fits Sony RX10M4.
- Spider Holster – Spider X Backpacker Kit for midsize cameras — “Self Locking, quick draw access to your camera on the go from any belt or backpack strap!”
- 2x Cactus Wireless Flash Transceiver Duo triggers your flash or camera wirelessly at distances up to 328 feet.
- Slik “Sprint Pro II GM” Tripod has a built-in quick-change plate, good for small cameras.
- Adobe “20 GB Photography Plan” — I rely on Lightroom Classic (LRC) to organize and edit 200,000 photos (5 terabytes) stored on my Windows PC (too large for the Cloud). The included Photoshop helps build trickier panoramas, complex Layers, or CMYK color space for book publishing. I don’t use LR with its 20 GB cloud. LR and LRC both radically speed tonal editing, adjustment-brushing, cropping, organizing, sorting, and labeling of images.
- My wife separately subscribes for more storage — Adobe “1TB Photography Plan” — using the simpler Lightroom (LR) app to share her 400-GB collection stored in the Adobe Cloud across multiple devices.
- Apple Photos easily organizes photos for free on Apple devices. Add critical adjustment brushes with Google’s free Snapseed app (for iOS, MacOS, Android, and Windows).
TIPS for travel in adverse conditions
- Weather & dust protection: Prudent bagging can avoid the extra expense of a weather-sealed body & lens – keep a camera handy, safely in a front pouch on your chest or hip (where it can be retrieved more quickly than from a pack on your back). Adverse fluctuations of temperature & humidity, or dusty conditions, or sea spray all require cameras to be double-protected in a zip-lock plastic bag inside the padded pouch. Use a soft, absorbent silk cloth to wipe away moisture or dust from lens & body before bagging.
- Cold batteries: Using camera batteries below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (or 4 Celsius) loses their charge quicker, causing camera shut down or lock. Revive and extend battery life in cold or below-freezing weather by warming an extra battery or two in an interior pocket near your skin and swapping with the camera’s battery after every 5-10 minutes of cold exposure.
- Satellite communication: Stay in touch everywhere in the world via Iridium satellite with a 3.5-ounce Garmin InReach Mini 2 [Amazon]: send and receive 160-character text messages with GPS coordinates (accurate to five meters) to cell numbers or email addresses worldwide and post updates to social media. Tom found it valuable for texting with his wife while backpacking. Good battery life. This affordable technology connects campers, hikers, hunters, backpackers, alpinists, and backcountry skiers who often venture outside of cell phone networks. Messages are easy to read on the Mini 2. But Smartphone connection via Bluetooth is required for a faster keyboard and smoother interface, as the Mini 2 screen and menus are otherwise very slow for typing characters. While charging, the Garmin disconnects from the smartphone. The month-to-month “Freedom – Recreation” plan is $34.95/month, which can be paused as desired to save money in ensuing months (unlimited SOS, 40 text messages/month both sent & received then 0.50 overage per text, unlimited preset messages set up on website, unlimited 10-minute tracking). You only pay for active months plus an annual $34.95 activation fee on the anniversary of initial activation into Freedom Plans. In case of SOS, info is shared with Garmin International Emergency Response Coordination Center. 24/7 monitoring & emergency dispatch benefit is available to anyone using your inReach. Compared to Mini 1, version 2 uses a quicker chip set and more satellites (Multi-GNSS, over 100).
Terminology and metric conversions
- oz = ounces | above camera weights in ounces (oz) include battery and memory card.
- g = grams | multiply ounces by 28.35 to get grams
- mm = millimeters | 10 millimeters = 1 centimeter (cm) | multiply centimeters (cm) by 0.3937 to get inches
- ILC = Interchangeable Lens Compact = “midsize mirrorless camera” term used above
- DSLR = Digital Single Lens Reflex = a traditional camera where an optical viewfinder uses a mirror to see through the interchangeable lens
- EVF = Electronic Viewfinder
- OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) consumes less power and beats an LCD in dynamic range from darkest to brightest.
- LCD = Liquid Crystal Display
- LPH or LPPH = resolvable lines per picture height = the best empirical measure of real resolution of a camera’s sensor for a given lens (independent of pixel pitch or megapixel count). A camera with higher LPH can make sharper large prints. Look up cameras on dpreview.com to find absolute vertical LPH judged by photographing a PIMA/ISO 12233 camera resolution test chart under standardized lighting conditions. Note which lens, settings, and camera body was used in each test, and compare with others within the same web site.
- “equivalent“ lens = To compare lenses on cameras having different sensor sizes, equiv or equivalent lens refers to what would be the lens focal length (measured in mm or millimeters) that would give the same angle of view on a “full frame” 35mm-size sensor (or 35mm film camera, using 135 film cartridge).
- Compared lenses are “equivalent” only in terms of angle of view. (To determine sharpness or quality, read lens reviews which analyze at 100% pixel views.)
- “Crop factor” = how many times smaller is the diagonal measurement of a small sensor than a “full frame” 35-mm size sensor. For example, the 1.5x crop factor for Nikon DX format (APS-C size sensor) makes a lens labeled 18-200mm to be equivalent in angle of view to a 27-300mm focal length lens used on a 35mm film camera. The 2x crop factor for Micro Four Thirds sensors makes a lens labeled 14-140mm to be equivalent in angle of view to a 28-280mm lens used on a 35mm film camera.
- “10x zoom” range = a zoom lens’ telephoto focal length divided by its wide angle focal length in mm. For example, a 14-140mm focal length zoom has a 10x zoom range (140 divided by 14). An 18-200mm zoom has an 11x zoom range (200 divided by 18).
- “equivalent” F-stop = refers to the F-stop (F-number) on a full-frame-sensor camera which has the same hole diameter as the F-stop of the camera lens being compared. The concept of “equivalent” F-stop lets you compare capabilities for creating shallow depth of field on cameras with different-size sensors. Smaller-sensor cameras use shorter focal lengths for the same field of view, so at a given F-stop they have a smaller physical aperture size, meaning more depth of field (with less blur in front of and behind the focused subject). Formula: F Number (or Relative Aperture) = actual focal length of lens divided by diameter of the entrance pupil.